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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Bank turns away non-Danish speakers, Bornholm Home Guard prepares for the Russians, gonorrhea at 25-year high, and snow storms expected. Here's some of the day's news from Denmark.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday
Chief of Bornholm's Home Guard, Ulrik Skytte, poses in front of military trucks at Almegard military base near Ronne, Denmark, October 25, 2022. Photo: Nikolaj Skydsgaard/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

Danish bank criticised for turning away non-Danish speakers

Coop Bank has been turning away customers who don’t speak Danish, the Politiken newspaper has reported, citing the case of a Malaysian man who was told that he could not have an account because he didn’t speak Danish. 

Mohamad Haizam, from Malaysia, was told by a customer services agent that he could not have an account because he didn’t speak Danish, and when Politiken itself rang customer services, they were told the same thing. 

“Because we are a Danish bank, we have all our documents in Danish, we only speak Danish (…) I have not been trained to be able to advise others in English,” the agent said. “And that is why we have simply decided that we will not change that now. And then it would be best to go that way and say, we only take in Danish customers’.

Claus Haagensen, a representative for the distribution company Post & Medier, told Politiken that this was a problem for the business, as 80 percent of employees had a foreign background, and he had been told by Coop that non-Danish speakers cannot have a bank account.

Danish vocab: vi snakker kun dansk – we only speak Danish

Snowstorm to hit Jutland on Monday evening 

A late-season snowstorm is expected to hit northern and central Jutland from 10pm on Monday night, with snow, sleet and heavy winds. 

Anesten Devasakayam, a meteorologist with state forecaster DMI, urged motorists to be careful. “There will be a lot of snow on the roads and a lot of snow being blown by the wind, leading to poor visibility,” he said. 

In northern and central Jutland at least 10cm of snow will fall overnight, but other parts of Denmark are also expected to get snow, sleet and rain on Monday night. 

Danish vocab: slud – sleet

Home guard on Bornholm practice for a Russian invasion

Over 200 part-time troops from the Bornholm Home Guard, together with home guard troops from Sweden and young soldiers posted to the island for their national service held a 48-hour exercise over the weekend preparing for a Russian invasion of the Baltic island, which is only 364km over the sea from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. 

“We see a threat situation where Russia is more aggressive. We must be able to fight, we must be able to ambush, and attack objects such as drones,” Ulrik Skytte, the head of the Bornholm Home Guard said at a press conference. 

Danish vocab: hjemmeværnssoldater – home guard soldiers 

Cases of gonorrhea in Denmark hit 25-year high 

The number of people testing positive for the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea in Denmark has hit the highest level in 25 years, according to SSI, Denmark’s state infectious diseases institute. 

The number of people being diagnosed rose by 40 percent between 2021 and 2022, with 3,906 cases and 2,807 cases reported respectively. 

Susan Cowan, section manager at SSI, said that the sharp rise may be related to the lockdown periods during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We can’t explain exactly what this is due to. But now that covid is over, people probably want to go out and have a party because they’re not locked in anymore, and something maybe he happening there,” she said. 

Danish vocab: formentlig – probably 

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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Delayed budget proposal on the way, refuse collectors strike in Copenhagen and several injured in shooting in Greenland. Here are the main news stories from Denmark on Thursday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Budget proposal to be presented 

The coalition government is scheduled to present a new budget proposal at noon today. Danish budgets are usually proposed and eventually adopted during the autumn, but last year’s election disrupted the normal timetable.

A so-called “negotiation reserve” (forhandlingsreserve), a pool of money in the budget that can be allocated at a later date based on agreements between parties, has been significantly cut from the amount set down by the proposal made by the pre-election, single-party Social Democratic government, according to news wire Ritzau.

Most of the reserve in the earlier proposal was expected to be expected on the health system.

The lower amount is due to the shorter timescale of this year’s budget according to the report.

We’ll report any key announcements from the budget proposal in an article on our website later today.

Labour court orders Copenhagen refuse collectors back to work

Refuse collectors in parts of Copenhagen have staged a wildcat strike – a strike not sanctioned by their trade union – in recent days, due to a dispute between the workers and the Amager Resource Center (ARC) waste management company, related to working hours.

The Danish labour court (Arbejdsretten) has ordered them to return to work and their unions have also said they should not continue the walkout, union journal Fagbladet 3F reports.

The labour court has ruled the strikes in breach of the refuse collectors’ collective bargaining agreement, meaning they can potentially be fined for continuing the action.

Five injured in Greenland shooting

Two people were hit by shots fired in the town of Narsaq in Greenland yesterday afternoon and a further three were injured in the incident, Greenland police chief Brian Thomsen told local media KNR.

The two people who were shot are not in a life-threatening condition.

The three injured people were hit by projectiles caused by the shots, according to the report. Police are yet to ascertain a motive for the shooting.

Denmark against EU plan to limit use of biomass as fuel

The government opposes an EU plan to limit the amount of wood member countries can burn as biomass, according to newspaper Dagbladet Information.

The EU parliament wants to reduce the forms of biomass that are considered sustainable energy, removing wood from this list.

But the climate ministry is against such a move, according to a letter sent by the ministry to an interest organisation for the Danish timer industry, Dansk Skovforening, according to Information.

The newspaper reports that, in the letter, the ministry states that it “does not think the EU parliament’s proposal to implement a new definition and place restrictions on the use of primary wood biomass is the right way to go”.

UN rules hold that biomass must be CO2 neutral but some experts have said it emits CO2 directly into the atmosphere, according to the report.